Waste not - 10,000 tonnes of ash used in A14 scheme

08/07/2020
Dominic Browne

More than 10,000 tonnes of ash from Drax, the UK’s biggest power station, was used in the early completion of the UK’s biggest road scheme.

The £1.5bn Highways England A14 Cambridge to Huntingdon project was opened months ahead of schedule this summer, providing improved links between the East of England, the Midlands and the North.

Ash from Drax Power Station in North Yorkshire was a key ingredient in the project’s concrete structures.

Power Minerals Ltd (PML), which has a team based at the power station marketing the station’s ash stockpile, partnered with concrete firm Mick George to supply the road scheme.

Utilising power station ash for cement manufacturing can use less energy and also protects the environment by removing the need to mine fresh aggregate from the countryside.

Nigel Waldron, managing director of PML, said: 'Our long-standing relationship with Drax and our partnership with Mick George was just one part of a collective industry-wide effort that has resulted in the A14 project coming in before time and on budget.

'Infrastructure projects can play a major part in restarting the UK’s economy post-Coronavirus, and this project, which was the biggest road building scheme in the UK, is a prime example of what can be achieved by industry working across the sectors.'

Drax has announced that it will stop using coal next year as part of its world-leading ambition to become a carbon negative company by 2030 through bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) technology.

The power stations said this means it will eventually remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than is produced across its operations.

Over the last decade four of the power station’s six generating units have been converted to use sustainable biomass and now produce 12% of the UK’s renewable energy.

As a result, Drax has become the UK’s largest renewable power generator and is the biggest decarbonisation project in Europe.

Mike Maudsley, Drax Group’s UK portfolio generation director, said: 'Ending the use of coal at Drax next year will be a landmark moment in achieving our world-leading ambition to become a carbon negative company by 2030.

'The use of our ash in this major construction project will leave a lasting legacy in the communities it has helped to connect across the A14 long-after coal generation comes to an end at the power station.'

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